“Nothing speaks of summer so eloquently as a dish of strawberries, eaten warm and richly glowing, straight from the garden.” (Anna Pavord)
I don’t have much room for strawberries in the veg garden so I usually think vertically for planting. Hanging baskets, plant pots on the greenhouse staging or troughs raised off the floor. There are a few reasons for this – one is that it stops slugs and birds attacking the precious berries and the other is that when they start fruiting they look decorative trailing over the sides of the containers, plus it makes them easier to harvest. I have just transplanted my overwintering plants into larger pots in the greenhouse in the hope of getting an early crop.
Once you have the main plants you need never buy any more as you increase your stock by potting up the strawberry runners, so they are perfect for frugal gardeners. I am not into growing strawberries for huge crops – just enough for a few pots of jam a few desserts and plenty of freshly picked to eat raw with cream or ice cream. The thought of picking punnet after punnet daily and then wondering what to do with them all until I get sick of them, is not the point. I treasure each berry, maybe picking just a saucerful each day, but that is enough for me and my needs.
|29th May 2012|
Apparently there are more than 600 varieties of strawberry that differ in size, texture and flavour and cultivation has been taking place for over 300 years. Wild strawberries are known to have existed for more than 2,000 years. In the 18th c. a French engineer working in
Chile found a native strawberry larger than those grown in Europe. Cross-breeding occurred naturally between this and a N.American variety. The result was a hybrid strawberry that was large, juicy and sweet and it grew in popularity, but was regarded as a luxury item until the 19th c. It is now the most popular berry in the world.
|Hanging basket - 23rd June 2012|
“The modern strawberry is a tale of disappointment and delight. I have learned to treat each punnet of really good berries I encounter as a box of fleeting, precious jewels, a treat to be enjoyed with unalloyed pleasure; no cream, no sugar or splash of
Beaujolais, just the warm berry in all its scarlet glory. That perfect fruit is a rare find, but once you chance upon it life seems, for an instant, to stand still. Eyes closed, you are briefly lost in buttercup meadows, with bees buzzing on the heavy afternoon air.” (Nigel Slater)
|Greenhouse strawberries 12th June 2012|
Is the strawberry your favourite berry?